October 19, 2023, 9 AM Central
4 Hour Session
The First Presbyterian Church of Chicago at 6400 S Kimbark Avenue Chicago, IL 60637
Wayfinding Map for the Venue

What surrounds us shapes us as designers. Although we may not realize it, designers encounter individuals and communities with a profound history of overwhelm, stress, and trauma. Trauma-informed and trauma-responsive design acknowledges adversity in peoples’ lives and actively works to understand how and why trauma shapes one’s life and fundamental beliefs about the world. When we practice with a care-focused and trauma-informed approach, we rethink traditional methods and integrate concepts from helping fields like social work.

Deepening our understanding of trauma can be transformative in our practice, especially since trauma is perhaps the most avoided, ignored, denied, and misunderstood cause of human suffering. In this 4-hour workshop and conversation, Rachael will help participants learn the fundamentals of trauma, how trauma-informed care principles are applied in several design contexts, and tangible ways to start building your trauma-responsive practice. 

Learners at all levels are welcome. 



  • Attendees will discuss how identifying your scope of practice as a designer is essential
  • Attendees will begin crafting a design care plan and co-produce a shared collection of resources and ongoing learning
  • Attendees also utilize cards from the Model of Care for Co-Design and focus on new methods to help you start building your trauma-responsive practice immediately



Rachael Dietkus, Civic Designer, Social Worker, Trauma-responsive Design Practitioner
Illinois, U.S.

Rachael Dietkus is a civic designer, licensed clinical social worker, and trauma-responsive design practitioner. She is the founder of Social Workers Who Design and works with design teams worldwide. She lives in Illinois with her spouse and daughter and is working on her first book with MIT Press. You can read more about Rachael and her work on LinkedIn and at Social Workers Who Design.